“They Will All Die in Space” (BIFAN 2016):  Drifting  Spaceship Crew Turns to Desperate Measures in Science Fiction Short

superScaryShortsSaturday  Writer/director/producer Javier Chillon offers up helpings of both tension and dread in his science fiction/horror short film They Will All Die in Space (Spain, 2015). Although the short’s title gives viewers a pretty good idea about what is in store for the crew of the ill-fated Starship Tantalus, the reward of the film is finding out how and why. The answer is a grim one, indeed.

Fellow Spaceship Tantalus crew members reanimate Alexander Talabot (Julio Perillan) from being cryogenically frozen to help them repair the craft.

Phil Eberhart (Ben Temple) and Dan Atenas (Francesc Garrido) are crew members of the Starship Tantalus. Dan removes Alexander Talabot (Julio Perillan) from one of dozens of cryogenic chambers aboard the ship. Phil explains to Alexander that they have reanimated him because an asteroid shower nearly destroyed the Tantalus four months after departure; the crew has been adrift for six months without any form of communication and having lost its main engine. Alexander suggests that they reanimate his wife, who has the technical skills to help the men out of their predicament, but Eberhart tells him that the ship is doomed to drift through space until supplies run out, and asks Alexander if that is the fate to which he wants to subject his wife.

Phil Eberhart (Ben Temple) is insistent that Alexander continue his repair work despite the fact that he  is fatigued.

Javier Chillon keeps the suspense steadily rising as Alexander works on repairs, growing ever more curious about Phil and Dan. Chillon’s  script runs lean and mean, building toward an exciting payoff. The three actors turn in splendid performances.

Art direction/production design head Idoia Esteban and her  visual effects crew have created a stunning world of, in, and outside of the spaceship, including a marvelously rendered design of the Tantalus by Stephane Chasseloup. Set dressers Victor Lopez and Alvaro Suarez, along with the rest of the short’s art department, have done a first-rate job building impressive set designs for the ship’s interior. Luis Fuentes’s cinematography is striking, and the choice of filming in black-and-white fits the somber tone of the proceedings perfectly. A fittingly eerie synthesizer score by Cirilo Fernandez works in tandem with Roberto Fernandez’s sound design.

Dan Atenas (Francesc Garrido) reports back to Phil as he keeps a close watch on Alexander.

Relying on the time-honored cinematic fright fare traditions of suggestion and leaving things for viewers’ imaginations to fill in the gaps, They Will All Die in Space relies on the strength of its story and performances rather than on gory visual images. The fate of the Starship Tantalus’s crew is nevertheless chilling, gruesome, and memorable.

They Will All Die in Space screened at the 20th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) in South Korea (July 21-31, 2016).

They Will All Die in Space: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Die in Space poster

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.